During the public comment period at the town council meeting on March 27, Andrew Kulley, a member of the West Windsor Environmental Commission, called me “intellectually dishonest.”

Mr. Kulley is emotionally committed to having a solar grid and doesn’t like anyone questioning the advisability of putting one on five acres of prime farmland adjacent to the municipal complex.

Let me refresh Mr. Kulley’s memory. In Oct. 2016, after a presentation to the township council, I sent a set of technical questions to the mayor. Without bothering to answer those questions, Mayor Shing-Fu Hsueh tried to force a resolution on the council agenda at the Jan. 3 business meeting.

My questions were answered only when I posted them on Facebook and not answering them became an embarrassment.

The answers to the questions demonstrated that two claims made in the Environmental Commission’s proposal were bogus. First, the so-called backup battery would last only four hours. It is a “toy backup,” not a serious backup to be used in an emergency.

Second, it is now clear that with additional wiring, the two existing generators would be sufficient to supply all three municipal buildings at a much lower cost than purchasing a new generator.

These valid considerations have been soft-pedaled by proponents of the solar grid. Repeating the discredited claims to support the project is what is truly intellectually dishonest.

I feel like we are not being asked to participate in a “Solar4All” program, but rather a “Solar at any cost” program. The simple question is whether public property should be used for projects favored by a few without thorough debate.

Putting in a solar facility to generate relatively little income is a very unproductive use of prime land. Farming the land would be a far more environmentally friendly solution. The land could also be used to provide recreational facilities for township residents, a use that will benefit many people.

The debate on what’s the best use of that land should have occurred long before the Environmental Commission started working on a proposal.

I appreciate the passion and service of all Environmental Commission members. However, I strongly object to the misuse of public resources to satisfy personal preferences. It is time to think out of the box for the best use of that land.

When people start calling me names, it’s clear that they have no rational arguments left to support their position. The question is whether Mayor Hsueh and his supporters will allow an honest debate on the best use of the land for all residents of West Windsor, or simply bulldoze a proposal through Council that is personally favored by only a few.

— Hemant Marathe
Marathe is a member of West Windsor Council